U.S. bishops to debate document on ethics of reproductive technology

.- The U.S. bishops’ proposed document on the relationship between sex and procreation and the moral issues concerning infertility treatments will be debated and voted on by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) at their fall assembly in Baltimore.

The draft of the document, “Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology,” expresses the Church’s compassion to couples suffering from infertility but rejects some “reproductive technologies” as non-legitimate solutions to such problems.

“We bishops of the United States offer this reflection to explain why. We also offer it to provide hope—real hope that couples can fulfill their procreative potential and build a family while fully respecting God’s design for their marriage and for the gift of children,” the draft reads, according to the USCCB.

The document reportedly draws on church teaching such as Pope John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical “Evangelium Vitae” and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith instructions “Donum Vitae” and “Dignitas Personae”.

The draft includes questions and answers on the topic, testimony from couples who followed the Church’s teaching, and pastoral guidance and encouragement for couples struggling with infertility.

Catholic teaching against in vitro fertilization, egg and sperm donation, surrogacy, cloning and embryo teaching are reaffirmed in the document, the USCCB says. The document also discusses ethical treatments such as hormonal medications, surgery to repair damaged fallopian tubes, natural family planning, and male infertility alleviation.

“These avenues do not substitute for the married couple’s act of loving union; rather, they assist this act in reaching its potential for giving rise to a new human life,” the draft reads.

The document was prepared by the Pro-Life Committee as a companion to the 2007 USCCB document “Married Love and the Gift of Life.” It will require the approval of two-thirds of the membership of the USCCB.

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